I was recently reminded about the importance of keeping the continuity of the story in mind when I write. You may think I’m referring to the actual timeline of the story, the characters and their relationships with each other and so on. While those things are all important, they are not what I’m talking about in this case.
Let me tell a short story to explain.
You picked up a new story and are busy reading it. The story takes place in the distant past, say during the height of the Roman Empire. The characters are doing their thing, you can almost visualize the city and see the mayhem. Then, out of the blue, the author refers to a Porsche. It may have been used to describe something or (horrors) mentioned by a one of the characters (by thought or speech). Remember, the character is from the time of the Roman Empire. This story does not have any ties to current day.
That would be a little jarring wouldn’t it? It might even be enough to pull you right out of the story.
This can be done to both lessor and greater extent. For example, a novel set in a medieval time-period. The archer steps forward and “Fires” an arrow at the enemy. The problem is, gunpowder doesn’t exist yet and you shoot an arrow, not fire it. Not a big deal right? How about a fantasy novel where the character thinks about monsters in terms of their scientific name? Does science even exist in this realm? Do they use the same scientific notation we do?
You also need the characters to act as the culture of the story demands. If peasants don’t dare look into the eyes of their betters, you want to be absolutely certain not to break that rule… and if you do you need to have a very good reason! Don’t have your character speaking using jargon or slang that doesn’t belong unless you do it for a reason.
Having said all this, you also need to keep in mind that you are the writer and this is your world. You are the one who makes the rules for your characters to live by. Just be sure you don’t break your own rules.
I’ve completed the first three chapter of my fantasy novel rewrite with over 6,600 words. I’ve also been involved with Critters.org to build up my critter credits so I can submit my stuff. Shouldn’t be long now.